A gorgeous memoir of an unthinkable life: a young woman writes of the sensitivity to light that has forced her to live in darkness and of the love that has saved her.
"Something is afoot within me that I do not understand, the breaking of a contract that I thought could not be broken, a slow perverting of my substance."
Anna was living a normal life. She was ambitious and worked hard; she had just bought an apartment; she was falling in love. But then she started to develop worrying symptoms: her face felt like it was burning whenever she was in front of the computer. Soon this progressed to an intolerance of fluorescent light, then of sunlight itself. The reaction soon spread to her entire body. Now, when her symptoms are at their worst, she must spend months on end in a blacked-out room, losing herself in audiobooks and elaborate word games in an attempt to ward off despair. During periods of relative remission she can venture cautiously out at dawn and dusk, into a world that, from the perspective of her normally cloistered existence, is filled with remarkable beauty.
And throughout there is her relationship with Pete. In many ways he is Anna's savior, offering her shelter from the light in his home. But she cannot enjoy a normal life with him, cannot go out in the day, and even making love is uniquely awkward. Anna asks herself, "By continuing to occupy this lovely man while giving him neither children nor a public companion nor a welcoming home--do I do wrong?" With gorgeous, lyrical prose, Anna brings us into the dark with her, a place from which we emerge to see love and the world anew.
©2015 Anna Lyndsey (P)2014 Random House Audio
"Curtis is a strong narrator whose mixture of emotion and careful detachment is able to make the listener believe that it is her own story she's telling. It's a powerful performance. Many books are improved by listening if the performance is excellent, but there are few that convey a greater understanding of the subject matter through listening than reading." (AudioFile)
Likes: Cozy mysteries (cats a plus), personal memoirs,not too dark fantasy, books about the brain. Dislikes: Torture, animal cruelty.
I am not one of those people who gives a 5 star review to every likable book they read. I give those 3 stars usually. I give 4 stars to a great book which has some flaw in my opinion. I thought this was a great book, and I have no complaints about it whatsoever. For me a coping mechanism in times of stress is to think about how things could be worse and to use that to appreciate what I have. This book is great material for that. The bizarre nature of Lyndsey's chronic illness provides a way to look at life completely differently, and helped me see my mundane activities in a new light. The narrator was perfect. She conveyed the emotions of the very likable Lyndsey in a way that made them easy to empathize with. Lyndsey's time in the dark has caused her to look at things differently and she was able to really share that. A memoir of chronic illness can be a real downer but I did not find this one to be that way. Certainly, you feel for Lyndsey during setbacks, and you understand her despair, but there is something so undefeatably upbeat about her that she's inspiring rather than depressing.
Definitely! Hannah Curtis BECAME Anna Lindsay. She is dry and whitty when needed, in the depths of despair when called for.
Anna, of course, and Pete, who loves her and supports her and treats her like a human, not just someone with a disability/
yes! It is short enough to read on a long road trip, detailing all the ways Anna lives a happy and fulfilled life, with her hopes and dreams and successes and setbacks.
Terrific book! In some ways, ehr experiences are similar to living with blindness, yet very different. She is all-too-human, with an unusual disability, trying to find a way to carve out a fulfilling life outside the presence of many forms of light.
What a fighter!
Very interesting story.
This is a true story, amazing how some people endure.
Pete - he was a good man.
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